God wants us to play our role


Seek

Matthew 17:24-27

After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

This was quite a miracle. Not only was the money supplied for their taxes, but it was the exact amount needed, and it was from the first fish that was caught.

Although this sets the precedent that God can supply our needs in a miraculous way, it’s important to remember that God doesn’t counterfeit money. He didn’t create money in the fish, but rather he had the fish miraculously find and swallow the exact Roman coin that Peter needed. It’s a mistake to just pray and then wait on God to rain the money down from heaven.

As Luke 6:38 says, God uses men (and sometimes fish) to give finances to us. He can do it in a very unexpected, supernatural way but it will involve people and existing currency. We need to believe the Lord hears and answers our prayers and then pray for the people He’s going to use to deliver the answer. This could be our employer, the person who buys our goods, or any number of people.

The Lord also blesses what we set our hands to do. When in need, we should seek God’s direction for something to set our hands to and then trust Him to bless it and multiply the results of our work. But one hundred times zero is zero. Many people have missed their miracle because they never took that first step of faith and used what they had. God can give you a creative idea today that will bless you and make you a blessing to others. Seek and you will find.

The Beautiful Easter Story


He-is-Risen

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it”  (John 3:16-17).

The Last Supper (Mark chapter 14)

So the two disciples went on ahead into the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover supper there.

In the evening Jesus arrived with the twelve disciples.  As they were sitting around the table eating, Jesus said,

“The truth is, one of you will betray Me, one of you who is here eating with Me.”

Greatly distressed, one by one they began to ask Him, “I’m not the one, am I?”

He replied,

“It is one of you twelve, one who is eating with Me now.  For I, the Son of Man, must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago.  But how terrible it will be for My betrayer.  Far better for him if he had never been born!”

As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God’s blessing on it.  Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying,

“Take it, for this is My body.”

And He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it.  He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  And He said to them,

“This is My blood, poured out for many, sealing the covenant between God and His people.  I solemnly declare that I will not drink wine again until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”

Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

And they came to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said,

“Sit here while I go and pray.”

He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be filled with horror and deep distress.  He told them,

“My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.  Stay here and watch with Me.”

He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting Him might pass him by.

“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for You.  Please take this cup of suffering away from Me.  Yet I want Your will, not Mine.”

Then He returned and found the disciples asleep.

“Simon!” He said to Peter.  “Are you asleep?  Couldn’t you stay awake and watch with Me even one hour?  Keep alert and pray.  Otherwise temptation will overpower you.  For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.”

Then Jesus left them again and prayed, repeating His pleadings.

Again He returned to them and found them sleeping, for they just couldn’t keep their eyes open.  And they didn’t know what to say.  When He returned to them the third time, He said,

“Still sleeping?  Still resting?  Enough!  The time has come.   I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Up, let’s be going.  See, My betrayer is here!”

Jesus is Betrayed and Arrested

And immediately, as He said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a mob that was armed with swords and clubs.  They had been sent out by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law and the other leaders.  Judas had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I go over and give Him the kiss of greeting.  Then you can take Him away under guard.”

As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus.  “Teacher!” he exclaimed, and gave Him the kiss.  Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.  But someone pulled out a sword and slashed off an ear of the high priest’s servant.  Jesus asked them,

“Am I some dangerous criminal, that you come armed with swords and clubs to arrest Me?  Why didn’t you arrest Me in the Temple?  I was there teaching every day.  But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about Me.”

Meanwhile, all His disciples deserted Him and ran away.  There was a young man following along behind, clothed only in a linen nightshirt.  When the mob tried to grab him, they tore off his clothes, but he escaped and ran away naked.

Jesus is Crucified ( Mark chapter 15 )

So Pilate, anxious to please the crowd, released Barabbas to them.  He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to crucify Him.  They dressed Him in a purple robe and made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on His head.  Then they saluted, yelling, “Hail! King of the Jews!”  And they beat Him on the head with a stick, spit on Him and dropped to their knees in mock worship.  When they were finally tired of mocking Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him again.  Then they led Him away to be crucified.

A man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the country just then, and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.  And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Hill).  They offered Him wine drugged with myrrh, but He refused it.  Then they nailed Him to the cross.  They gambled for His clothes, throwing dice to decide who would get them.

It was nine o’clock in the morning when the crucifixion took place.  A signboard was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against Him.  It read: “The King of the Jews.”  Two criminals were crucified with Him, their crosses on either side of His.  And the people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery.  “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at Him. “You can destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, can you?  Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus.  “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but He can’t save himself!  Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe Him!”  Even the two criminals who were being crucified with Jesus ridiculed Him.

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.  Then, at that time Jesus called out with a loud voice,

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought He was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to Him on a stick so he could drink.  “Leave Him alone.  Let’s see whether Elijah will come and take Him down!” he said.

Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed His last.  And the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  When the Roman officer who stood facing Him saw how He had died, he exclaimed, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”

Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph) and Salome.  They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for Him while He was in Galilee.  Then they and many other women had come with Him to Jerusalem.

This all happened on Friday, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath.  As evening approached, an honored member of the high council, Joseph from Arimathea (who was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come), gathered his courage and went to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body.  Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman military officer in charge and asked him.  The officer confirmed the fact, and Pilate told Joseph he could have the body.  Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth, and taking Jesus’ body down from the cross; he wrapped it in the cloth and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock.  Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance.  Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.

The Resurrection – Jesus Is Risen! ( Mark chapter 16 )

The next evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices to put on Jesus’ body.  Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they came to the tomb.  On the way they were discussing who would roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb.  But when they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone – a very large one – had already been rolled aside.  So they entered the tomb, and there on the right sat a young man clothed in a white robe.  The women were startled, but the angel said, “Do not be so surprised.  You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. He isn’t here!  He has been raised from the dead!  Look, this is where they laid His body.  Now go and give this message to His disciples, including Peter: Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You will see Him there, just as He told you before He died!”  The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, saying nothing to anyone because they were too frightened to talk.

It was early on Sunday morning when Jesus rose from the dead, and the first person who saw Him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and found the disciples, who were grieving and weeping.  But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen Him, they didn’t believe her.

Afterward He appeared to two who were walking from Jerusalem into the country, but they didn’t recognize Him at first because He had changed His appearance.  When they realized who He was, they rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them. Still later He appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together.  He rebuked them for their unbelief – their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

And then He told them,

“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.  Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.  But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.  These signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in My name, and they will speak new languages.  They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them.  They will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them.”

When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.  And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked with them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.

God loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ to die for your sins. After His resurrection and ascension into heaven, He sent His Spirit to live in our lives and empower us to live the abundant life.  But we must personally ask Him into our lives to be our Lord and Savior.  If you are sincere about asking Him into your life, why don’t you pray the suggested prayer below:

(Prayer is talking to God. God knows your heart and is not as concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.)

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer today, you have made the most important decision in your life.

 

Turning the other cheek..


But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:38-48

Which would you rather have – God defending you, or you defending yourself? That’s the choice that Jesus is offering us here. “Turning the other cheek” is not a prescription for abuse but rather the way to get the Lord involved in your defense.

Many people feel that these instructions of Jesus guarantee that others will take advantage of us. That would be true if there was no God. But when we follow these commands of Jesus, the Lord is on our side. He said in Rom. 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

When we fight back, we are drawing on our own strength. But when we turn the other cheek, we are invoking God as our defense. Once we understand this, it becomes obvious that these instructions are for our own good.

James 1:20, says that the wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Regardless of how appropriate our anger may seem, and regardless of how we think our wrath could make a person or situation change, we will never achieve God’s best that way.

When we defend ourselves, we stop God from defending us. It has to be one way or the other. It cannot be both ways. When we turn the other cheek to our enemies, we are loosing the power of God on our behalf. Let God defend you today.

Quality Prayer


I have always been sensitive to prayer because inasmuch as it is a personal, I believe it has some rules that govern it for it to be effective!

Lets examine what the Bible says..

Prayer

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Matthew 6:5-8

Some of the most effective prayers are the shortest prayers. Jesus said, “Peace, be still,” and the wind and the waves ceased (Mk. 4:39). He said, “Lazarus, come forth,” and Lazarus came back from the dead (Jn. 11:43-44).

Today, there is a new emphasis on the quantity of prayer instead of the quality of prayer. Jesus never advocated long prayers, and there are only a few instances where Jesus prayed long prayers. This is not to say that communion with God is not important. It certainly is, but formal prayer is only one part of our communion with the Lord.

Psalm 5:1-2 uses the words “prayer” and “meditation” interchangeably. Therefore, communing with God through keeping your mind stayed on the things of the Lord is also prayer. There are also times in prayer when we need to be still and know that God is God (Ps. 46:10).

Many times we ask the Lord to speak to us, but He can’t get a word when we’re doing all the talking.

Fishing All Night?


Trust

The night had been long for Simon and his fishing buddies on the Sea of Galilee. They’d tossed their nets and hoped for a big haul, but the nets had returned empty. And then Jesus showed up. “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch,” He said.

Simon protested, but only a little. “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Simon’s obedience paid off. “When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break…They came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink” (Luke 5:4-7).

Maybe you, too, have been ‘fishing all night’. You’ve cast your nets on behalf of your marriage, hoping your efforts will haul in happiness. You’ve searched for employment. You’ve prayed for your prodigal. Your nets are empty, and you’re tired. But Jesus says, “Try again.”

His words make little sense, but your obedience could make all the difference. Go ahead, toss those nets again.

Take Action: Write a note “Still trying, Still Trusting”. Put it somewhere on your desk or at home and you will witness miracles.

Praying Like Jesus


Seeking God’s will above our own isn’t easy.

It wasn’t even easy for Jesus!

Did you know the only time Scripture records Jesus wrestling in prayer was in the Garden of Gethsemane? What was his struggle? He wrestled over the will of God, and he could not go to the cross until he finally said to God, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

The trouble comes in our lives when we don’t pray this part of the prayer. The trouble comes when we focus on our will and not his. That is when marriages fall apart. That is when business decisions go bad. That is when you experience the kind of moral failure that can scar you with unbelievable guilt.

The best prayer you can ever pray for anyone, in any situation, at any time, in any place, is the prayer, “Your will be done.” Do you know why? Because God’s will is always the right and best thing to pray for.

The purpose of prayer isn’t about getting your will done in heaven; it’s about seeing his will done in your heart. It is not to get God in line with your desires but to help you line up with his. 

“Be Still..” says the Lord!


Here are 32 instances in the Bible where we are told to “be still”..

I hope they will inspire you to calm down and know God is in control!

Psalm 46:10 

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Exodus 14:14 

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Psalm 37:7 

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!

Mark 4:39 

And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Psalm 62:5 

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Psalm 23:1-6 

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Job 6:24 

“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.

Psalm 131:2 

But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

1 Peter 3:4 

But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Psalm 91:1-16 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

Lamentations 3:24-26 

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Habakkuk 2:1 

I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

Isaiah 32:17 

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

Psalm 46:1-11 

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

Psalm 1:1-6 

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

Philippians 4:6 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Isaiah 41:10-13 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

Psalm 34:1-22 

Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 

And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

1 Kings 19:11-13 

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Psalm 61:1-8 

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. Of David. Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Hebrews 11:1-40 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

Isaiah 30:15 

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,

Ruth 3:8 

At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!

1 John 4:17 

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

Luke 10:39 

And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

Deuteronomy 4:35 

To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.

Romans 3:3-4 

What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

Matthew 15:1-39 

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”

Isaiah 43:1-3 

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.

 

Don’t beat around the bush!


News of an impending attack from neighbouring territories drove King Jehoshaphat to his knees. “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us,” he prayed.We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

No fancy words, no long-winded monologue. Just simple statements of fact: We’re in trouble. We don’t know what to do. We need Your help. How did God respond?

He answered by fighting the battle on Jehoshaphat’s behalf and giving victory (2 Chronicles 20:12-22).

Have you ever faced a vast army, so to speak, feeling utterly powerless? Maybe you’re in an abusive relationship, struggling with your job, studies etc. Perhaps you’re heartbroken over wayward kids. Maybe you’re struggling with depression, facing financial ruin, or battling terminal illness. The army approaches, and you see no escape.

What to do? Pray.I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You.

You may feel powerless, but God is all-powerful. Rest assured, He’ll fight on your behalf just as He did for Jehoshaphat.

Take Action: Fill in the blank:

“God, I don’t know what to do about _______________, but my eyes are on You.”

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